The Taking of America, 1-2-3
This is an introduction to the book "The Taking of America, 1-2-3,"
by Richard E. Sprague, self-published by the author first in 1976,
revised in 1979, and updated in 1985. There will be eleven posts
following this one that will comprise the complete 1985 updated
third edition which I will be sending out with the permission of
the author. From the book's own introduction,
This book is not about assassinations, at least not
solely about assassinations. It is not just another book
about who murdered President Kennedy or how or why. It is a
book about power, about who really controls the United
States policies, especially foreign policies. It is a book
about the process of control through the manipulation of the
American presidency and the presidential election process.
The objective of the book is to expose the clandestine,
secret, tricky methods and weapons used for this
manipulation, and to reveal the degree to which these have
been hidden from the American public.
Assassinations are only one of many techniques used in
this control process. They have been important only in the
sense that they are the ultimate method used in the control
of the election process. Viewed in this way, an
understanding of what happened to John or Robert Kennedy
becomes more important because it leads to a total
understanding of what has happened to our country, and to
us, since 1960. But the important thing to understand is
the control and the power and all of the clandestine methods
Two men named Richard Sprague have been involved in examining the
assassination of John F. Kennedy and its ensuing cover-up through the
years. Richard A. Sprague, the former district attorney from
Philadelphia, and the fearless prosecutor of the Yablonski murderers,
was named on October 4, 1976, by Congressperson Thomas Downing, to be
chief counsel of the just-then forming House Select Committee on
Assassinations. Richard E. Sprague was a pioneer in the field of
computers starting in the 1940s. His involvement studying the
photographic evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy goes
back to 1966:
From the day it happened I was skeptical about what was
being said on the TV and radio with regard to how the
president was killed. But when the "Warren Report" was
issued I became non-skeptical and accepted it pretty much as
it was. However, when the 26 volumes became available in
late 1964 and I started reading through them, I became
skeptical again because I could not find confirmation of
most of the so-called facts presented by the "Warren Report"
and purported to be backed up by the evidence in the 26
volumes, or any other evidence.
So I started work again, which caused me to need an index
to the 26 volumes. This in turn lead to my contacting
Sylvia Meagher and asking where I could get her index having
discovered that she had created and published one that the
Warren Commission hadn't seen fit to provide. She told me
where I could get it and suggested we have lunch. This was
in early November, 1966. She asked, "Why don't you do some
real research?" and I said, "like what?" and she responded
"how about the photographic evidence? A couple of people
have started work on it but haven't finished." I asked her
who and she said "Harold Weisberg and Ray Marcus." I
contacted both men and that's more or less how I stuck my
foot in the quicksand.
At the time the 26 volumes became available there were
only 8,000 copies printed for the whole country. The time I
managed to get hold of one of these sets of all 26 volumes
was when I had moved to the University Club in New York City
and they had a complete set donated to the University Club
by non other than John J. McCloy. So I was using John J.
McCloy's personal copies for the beginnings of my research.
Now, the most important thing initially that happened in
finding the photos was discovering a number of photographs-
-films and still photos--that showed the sixth floor window
empty with nobody in it. This is what originally convinced
me that we had a different sort of conspiracy going than one
involving Lee Harvey Oswald, because if he wasn't in the
window--and nobody was in the window--then what happened?
Who fired the shots? And where from?
Confirming that the films and photographs I was looking
at were taken at the critical time the shots were fired, or
immediately before or after that, involved a lot of work:
work with plat maps, other photos, and other materials. I
got hold of a map made by the surveyor for Dealey Plaza (I
believe his name was Clarence West) which was drawn to
scale, and Bob Cutler helped me draw onto it all of the
various things that happened including all the vehicles that
were moving through. And I managed to lay a set of films
end-to-end starting with one rounding the turn onto Houston
Street all the way through Dealey Plaza so I could track any
vehicle that was in view eighteenth-of-a-second by
eighteenth-of-a-second (Zapruder film speed) all the way
through Dealey Plaza. This enabled me to determine where
Kennedy was at all times and where anybody else was that
showed up in any of the photos--particularly moving
pictures--at times Kennedy was at spot so-and-so or spot
By doing this, with some triangulation, I was able to pin
down the exact timing of two particular sets of photos: a
film--the Hughes film--the last frame of which shows the
sixth floor window empty and ends 5.7 seconds ahead of the
first shot--the first shot being fired/tied down at frame
189 of the Zapruder film; and two photos taken after the
shots were fired by Dillard and, believe it or not, an
intelligence man from Navy intelligence named Powell.
Powell's and Dillard's photos were taken almost at the same
time, 3.5 seconds after the fatal and last shot (Z-313).
So that total time span is less than 17 seconds--if you
add up the 5.7 seconds after the end of the Hughes film,
plus the 6-plus seconds while the shots were being fired,
plus the 3.5 seconds before Dillard and Powell's photos were
taken--of blank, non-coverage of that window and there's no
way Oswald could have gotten into the window, aimed, fired
three shots, and gotten out of the window so you that
couldn't see him in 17 seconds.
But anyway there was another film taken by Beverly Oliver
otherwise known as the Babushka lady that was confiscated by
News Orleans FBI agent Regis Kennedy, and a still photograph
taken by Norman Similas, confiscated by the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police from "Liberty" magazine (which was going to
publish the photo), who then turned the photo and its
negative over to the FBI. I interviewed Similas and the
"Liberty" magazine editor both of whom told me they had
carefully examined the photograph and had seen no one in the
photograph appearing in the eastern-most sixth floor window,
which I calculated had been taken about half-way into the
I made two attempts soon after the Freedom of Information
Act "viewing room" in the FBI office in Washington, D.C. was
created, to request to see the Similas photograph and
Beverly Oliver film, but each time the FBI person assigned
to me was not able to find these photograhs. But the
testimony of the people involved was good enough for me to
conclude that there was nobody in that window ever.
Once I got to that point I started looking for other
evidence that would show where the shots did come from and I
started finding all kinds of evidence of shots from the
grassy knoll, and from the Dal Tex building, and from the
roof or the seventh floor of the western end of the
depository building--both photographs as well as witness
testimony--and that lead me to decide that this was a
powerful conspiracy which had involved at least four gunmen
firing shots. This then lead me to decide that I should
pursue the whole pattern of conspiracy including,
eventually, the Martin Luther King assassination, the Bobby
Kennedy assassination and the George Wallace attempt. And
that led to the book.
Through all of this, I just know I never would have
concluded that it was a powerful and well-planned conspiracy
if I had not determined that Oswald wasn't in that window--
nobody was in that window. That was the first key.
There's one other thing I'd like to point out. The title
of the book has more than just simple significance and it
shows up in all the chapters that link all these
assassinations and their cover-ups. Namely, our country has
been taken from us. Us being the citizens of the United
States as of 1963, and any time after that, by robbing us of
our capability of electing a president we wanted for at
least three, and more likely four, elections. One way of
taking the country away, is to control the elections and
that's really, at least part of the essence of the book.
It's close to what Henry Gonzalez proposed in his original
bill. He wanted the Congress to look into all four of the
major assassinations--the fourth being the attempted
assassination of George Wallace--and find the links between
and among them, and the cover-ups, and particularly the
links between the intelligence agencies and the cover-ups
that he was sure were involved in all of them. And if we
had had a committee which had done that, well then, we'd
have been a lot further along than we are 13 years later.
-- phone interview with the author, June 3, 1992
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy was the most
photographed murder in history. Approximately 75 photographers took
a total of approximately 510 photographs, either before or during or
within an hour after the events in Dealey Plaza, and either there or
nearby or related to those events. The word "photograph" in this
context includes both still photos and movie sequences. The number
of frames in a movie sequence ranges from about 10 to about 500; and
in the count of 510 photographs, given above, the 10 to 500 frames of
a single movie sequence are counted just as *one* photograph. The
total number of frames is over 25,000.
The Warren Commission examined 26 photographs, about 5 percent of
the 510. The FBI examined about 50 photographs, or about 10 percent.
The most famous of all the photographs is the Zapruder film, which
had over 480 frames.
Many of the photographs were taken by professional photographers.
About 30 of the photographers were professionals who worked for
newspapers, television networks, and photographic agencies.
The Warren Commission did not interview a single one of the
professional photographers, nor did the Warren Commission see any
complete, uncropped copies of their photographs.
Fifteen of these professionals were actually in the Kennedy
motorcade, no further than 6 car lengths behind the Kennedy car.
Five of these photographers were television network cameramen. The
Warren Commission looked at none of their photographs.
Because the professionals used movie cameras of professional
quality, their films are exceedingly revealing and valuable as
primary evidence. The Warren Commission looked at none of these
During the past several years, I have collected copies of over 200
of these photographs, and I have looked at and taken notes of another
200 of these photographs, without obtaining copies of them. Some of
the remaining 100 have either not been found or have been locked up
or destroyed by the owners, who are fearful of the information they
show. Or they have been locked up by the FBI, who have either placed
them in files inaccessible to the public or possibly have destroyed
from, "The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy:
The Application of Computers to the Photographic
Evidence" Richard E. Sprague, "Computers and
Automation," May, 1970, p. 34.
for those interested, i have created a raw PostScript version of this
complete book which can simply be lp'd to a PostScript laser printer
for "prettified" hardcopy output. the combined size of the two
PostScript files comprising the book is 1055954 bytes (1007753 and
48201 bytes for the main portion and appendix respectively).
yer friendly neighborhood ratman
ko.yaa.nis.qatsi (from the Hopi Language) n. 1. crazy life. 2. life
in turmoil. 3. life out of balance. 4. life disintegrating.
5. a state of life that calls for another way of living.